Your benefit entitlements when a partner with a pension passes away

Q. My husband recently passed away, we were both getting our State Retirement Pensions as well as Pension Credit, we also both had PIP for daily living and an underlying entitlement to Carer’s Premium for each other.

Friday, 22nd November 2019, 4:00 pm
There are various entitlements available in the benefits system when a partner claiming state retirement pension passes away.
There are various entitlements available in the benefits system when a partner claiming state retirement pension passes away.

Our rent costs have been covered by Housing Benefit and we had full council tax reduction. I used the DWP’s one stop service to notify them of his death and I have been very confused about what I am now entitled to.

I do now my State Pension has increased as some of my husband’s National Insurance contributions have been transferred to my State Pension. This is now £170 week. I have no other income or savings apart from my State Pension and my PIP, I have no one else at home and currently no-one is or will be claiming Carer’s Allowance for looking after me. What should I be getting now.

A. In the current circumstances described you should still be entitled to have your benefits topped up by Pension Credit. Normally a single person of pension aged has a guaranteed income of £167.25/week, although your State Pension exceeds this amount you will be entitled to the following premiums that increase the minimum guaranteed income level.

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For the eight weeks following your husband’s death you automatically get a run on of the Carer’s Premium, this will increase the minimum income to £204.10 but in addition to this you should now qualify for the Severe Disability Addition (as you live alone, have no-one getting Carer’s Allowance for looking after you and receive PIP for daily living).

This will increase the minimum income to £269.95/week, this figure includes your State Pension. After the eight-week run on periods ends you will lose the Carer’s Premium so the guaranteed income level will drop to £233.10/week. So the DWP should pay extra Pension Credit to top up your income to these amounts.

As long as you receive Guaranteed Pension Credit you will continue to receive maximum Housing & Council Tax Reduction as well as other help such as dental treatment, help for glasses, etc.

Do remember that you will lose the Severe Disability Addition if anyone claims Carer’s Allowance for looking after you, the premium can also be lost if another person moves into your home or if your PIP award ends.

Changes like this will mean the loss of Guaranteed Pension Credit and although you can still receive Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction the amounts may be less than before and you may be financially worse off. Furthermore you lose automatic entitlement to dental care, etc. and would have to complete a HC1 form anytime you wish to obtain this treatment free of charge.